“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
The end of the school year is an exciting and hopeful time. It is a celebration of what God has done for each person individually as well as an opportunity to reflect on what He has done for the ministry at large. Pictured above students gather on campus to celebrate the end of the year as well as celebrate their peers who chose to get baptized. One student, before she was baptized, shared that she discovered how much Jesus loved her and that she loved Him and was excited to follow Him her whole life! The Old has Gone and the new has come!
This semester we have tackled a difficult issue. The topic of Sexuality and God’s design for it is a very divisive and challenging topic to discuss on the college campus. It has become very clear that more and more students have no idea about God’s design for sexuality. Many have been told and believe that sex in relationships is much like a handshake. Others have no real idea what its purpose is and why God created it. Scary thoughts for sure, but all the more reason to lean into this topic. As a result of our focus, many students are now talking about God’s design and plan for sex. They are realizing His desire is to bless them and not restrict them. There are numerous stories, many of which are too difficult or not appropriate to share in a newsletter. However, the Lord is redeeming students, their pasts, and their futures and it is a privilege to see Him work!
Students are embracing Jesus as their Lord, sharing who He is with their friends, and have challenged their own understanding of God’s design, plan, and purpose for their lives. As I reflect on the year I can see that God is doing away with the old in students lives and the new (Jesus) has come! Please pray that the work God has started in the students lives will continue to develop and that the students would not be subject to the “summer slide.” We are grateful for your prayers for us and our students as we continue to lead the ministry at UNC. Mandy, Kayla, Emma, and I are so thankful for your prayers! We sincerely could not do this without you!
“When he (Jesus) had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch’…When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.”-Luke 5:4-7
At the start of every year at UNC we ask God where we should “cast our nets” on campus with the eventual hope to have a study in each Dorm. This year we decided to think and ask Big! We sent Bible Study Leaders to each Dorm with the hope and prayer that they would get a study going there with Freshmen. In addition we wanted to launch a ministry at the community college (AIMS) nearby as well as a Fraternity and Sorority study. As of today God has answered our prayers and we now have a Bible Study in each Dorm on campus, two at AIMS, and a Sorority Study as well as two Fraternity brothers that we are discipling and training to bring the Gospel and a Bible Study into a couple different Fraternity Houses next semester! We are so blessed by the hard work of our students and staff as well and we are grateful for the Lords leading and provision! That puts our total Bible Studies on campus to 24! Numbers are not everything, nor are they our focus. However I can’t help but be encouraged at the number of students actively engaged in studying God’s Word! Already we have seen three students come to Christ and we are excited to see what God does in the hearts of our students who do not yet know Him.
This all is very encouraging, but we couldn’t do it without you! Your support helps us focus on campus and your prayers open up opportunities for us to share the Gospel on campus! Would you pray that these studies would grow and that our students would continue to grow and develop in their walks with the Lord this year? We are grateful for your prayers for us and our students as we continue to lead the ministry at UNC. We are very thankful for you! Thank you again for your prayers and support for us at UNC!
“As I finish up my last finals, papers, and projects of college, I find myself in a reflective state. Looking over the last four years of my life and seeing how I've grown, I am amazed at the things I remember. I remember being so lonely my first two years and struggling with my own darkness that I thought would never go away. I remember giving in to "college life" and trying to adopt a party mindset. I remember thinking, "I can't do this for the next four years." I remember Allie convincing me to go to Navs at the end of my sophomore year. I remember finding Jesus a few days later and finally feeling light, love, and hope. My darkness was overcome by Jesus' light. I remember struggling to be changed by my faith, but God won. I remember having ups and downs, places I didn't think God could go, and times when I didn't want Him there, thinking I could do it on my own. I remember totaling my car, barely surviving, and thinking God must have saved me for a reason. I remember going to STP and being challenged more than I can express. I remember when Jesus finally became my cornerstone and when my faith no longer lived according to circumstances. I remember spring break trips, long study nights, game and movie nights, Nav nights, coffee dates, and adventures. I remember when Jesus began taking me on paths I didn't think I'd ever go on. Mostly, looking back, I see how incredible Navs is. I met Jesus here, found my life and identity at the cross, and met my best friends here. I can't thank @noconavs enough. Through Navs, Jesus has blessed me more than I can express. Looking back through my college years, I see Jesus, and I see my Navs community. I would not have survived without either. Thank you to everyone who loved me, encouraged me, and walked beside me.” -Sabreena Class of 2017 (Pictured above on the Right)
Sabreena’s story above is similar to many at UNC. God has blessed us with a growing ministry and a lot of our success is because of your prayers and support. Your financial contributions allow us to focus on the campus and share the love of Jesus with many students. Your prayers for the ministry open eyes of students, allows us to share Jesus in corners previously closed off to us, and grant us favor in the eyes of the administration. Your prayers for us personally protect us from the attacks of the enemy on us and our children, strengthen us to continue to engage with students, and protects our hearts and minds with the peace of God that transcends all understanding. Mandy and I are grateful for you and are amazed at what God is doing through all of our friends (you)! Thank you!
The Reality Is No Match For God’s Greatness!
“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.”-Prov. 24:11
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” "-Isaiah 41:10
The stats above are disturbing and concerning as they point to a growing problem in our culture and college campuses. We need a Savior! The task of bringing Jesus to an increasingly dark and hostile environment seems daunting and maybe even impossible. However, the Lord reminds me of Isaiah 41:10 quoted above. As I look at UNC I see His hand at work! We have 18 Bible Studies on campus and are still growing. Several students who do not know the Lord are a part of our ministry and are encountering Him daily and moving closer and closer to Him. I look at my mailing list and see so many wonderful friends giving to us and praying for us, and that gives me so much encouragement. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity and your prayers! Mandy and I could not do this without you and we mean it sincerely. Thank you! Will you pray that the above stats would be what drives students to the cross? Will you pray that our students will continue to share with their friends boldly and that the Lord will open their eyes to Him? We love all of you and are grateful for all of you!
“I had never been on a missions trip before this trip, however after going on this trip I realize that I am capable of spreading God's word. Before this trip I felt that I was still a budding Christian that wasn't ever going to be ready to share the word because I was still just starting to learn about the word myself. Now I see that as Christians, one of the brightest and most fulfilling things to do is to share the word!”
“I am now reminded daily how blessed I am to be able to serve and pray to a God that will listen to my prayers any time of day, no matter where I am at. My God doesn't sleep, and listens to my prayers regardless of what I wear or which direction I face. God is everywhere always!”
“This trip just taught me the urgency of sharing the gospel and just how important it is to love on people no matter where they are in their life.”
The above quotes are from our students who went on our annual Spring Break Service Trip. We went to Atlanta, GA and served alongside a ministry working with immigrants from around the world who make Atlanta their new home. The students ministered to people from the Middle East, Asia, and South America. We had an opportunity to engage with cultures/faiths we usually do not have an opportunity to engage with at home. For example we toured the third largest Hindu Temple in the world and were able to observe first hand the idols that millions of people put their hope and trust in (much like Paul did in Acts 17). The seriousness and the need for urgency in sharing the Gospel with others back home sank in for my students after their visit to the temple and interacting with all the people in Atlanta. These trips help drive home what we teach, study and practice in the Navigators. We’re grateful for your prayers! It is showing in the lives of our students!
Lifting the Veil
“Hey Ben! Journey [Our Fall Conference] really opened my eyes to what prayer can do. I have been struggling with depression and an alcohol addiction. It has gotten to the point where I have been having to go to the hospital. If you don’t mind I would really appreciate if you could pray for me.” These sad and alarming words came from one of my students (David, pictured right) shortly after our fall conference. He and I sat down to discuss what he texted me and uncovered that he is a reluctant atheist. He wants to believe in something more than “chaos” but can’t see the “logic” of God existing (his words). He knows his depression and alcoholism is his heart screaming: there must be more to life! As we sat there talking, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 came to my mind:
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
David’s mind is blinded. We prayed through the scripture above and agreed to explore the book of John together in order to understand who Jesus is and to allow God’s Word to work in his heart. He asked me to pray for him and eagerly agreed to have me share his story with all of you and ask you to pray for him. Will you join me in asking the Lord to lift the veil from his heart and mind and that he would embrace Jesus as his savior this year? Thank you for praying for David, he was blown away by the thought of 200 people praying for him!
The Great Rescue
“I’ve decided to start following Jesus, Ben! I couldn’t sleep last night and decided to get up and read the Bible and decided I could trust God, that He would never abandon me!”
This is what a student named Gabriel told me two weeks ago at a conference we have just for Juniors and Seniors. Gabriel sat with me at a group discussion table for the weekend, when I asked him and the table full of students why is God trustworthy. I did not expect to hear Gabriel’s response: “God is not trustworthy. He will just turn His back on me and abandon me like everyone does.” What do you say to that? I told him one of the greatest things about God is that He does just the opposite. Jesus’ birth was the beginning of God’s great rescue plan. Heaven broke through and God sacrificed His Son to save all of us, including him! I asked him if that is a God worth trusting and following.
That night after our conversation God put His plan into action in Gabriel’s life. Stirring him to connect with Him and His Word. He has had a few people sharing Christ with him so I challenged him to connect with those individuals and share his decision with them (He is a student at CSU).
Pictured above are students gathered at our annual Christmas party celebrating what God has done this semester. Thank you for your continued prayers for us and the ministry at UNC!
“Enlarge the place or your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left…”
God’s Tent @ UNC
The passage in Isaiah above is my prayer for the ministry at UNC. I pray that God would enlarge His tent on campus stretching His curtains WIDE. I pray that He would not hold back and that we would have the privilege and honor to partner with Him as He moves at UNC. As I pray Isaiah 54 for the ministry at UNC I can see Him lengthening His cords and strengthening His stakes in the students already engaging with the Navigators and other ministries. I have been blessed to see the stud students take ownership in the ministry. They have placed the ministry on their shoulders and are actively engaging with their peers in the study of God’s Word. As we begin this next semester they will begin sharing the Gospel on the campus with their friends, roommates, classmates, and co-workers. Will you join me and pray Isaiah 54 for our ministry at UNC? My prayer is that God would call students who don’t know Him yet, into His kingdom this next semester. I am very fortunate and thankful to have you all praying for the ministry at UNC. It shows in the student’s lives!
Weekly Nav Night
Students from around the campus gather weekly to worship God together and to build on the growth they experience in their small group Bible Studies.
The Fall Semester is here and in full swing. Bible Studies are established, Freshmen are learning what college classes look like and require of them, and the dust has settled on the whirlwind of freshmen recruiting. The initial challenge of connecting with Freshmen and new students is over. We have met many new students and have helped connect them with one another through our small group Bible Studies. Our next challenge is helping them connect with the larger body of the Navigators and helping them catch our vision of knowing Christ, making Him known, and Helping others do the same. Our fall conference Journey is one of our best resources in helping our students connect with one another and our vision.
On October 17-19 over 600 college students from different campuses (78 from UNC) from New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming, descend on the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, CO. Would you join me in praying for a few concerns for the conference? Please pray that students would drive and arrive safely at the conference, various logistics running the conference would be addressed and that distractions would be at a minimum, and that students would catch the vision of knowing Jesus and would be eager to make Him known when they get home. I am grateful for your prayers for the students at UNC and look forward to sharing a couple stories from the conference!
Mandy and I are starting a new chapter this school year. Our second daughter Emma was born July 28th at a healthy 7 pounds 11 oz (pictures are on our website:). Her big sister Kayla is very excited about her new friend! We are so blessed to have two healthy girls!
There are some changes for us this year at UNC as well. My boss Jeff Huskerson is transitioning into a new role within the Navigator ministry as well as starting a new business venture of his own. He was the Campus Director at UNC for over 10 years and grew the ministry out of nothing to what it is today. He has been training me these last couple years to take over the ministry at UNC which he has now passed over to me. I’ve been blessed to learn under him and believe I am ready for the new challenge/opportunity!
This will be a year of exciting opportunities and new challenges. We would be grateful for your prayers for the topics listed to the left! After our experience with Kayla this summer and asking over 100 people to pray for us and Kayla, we were reminded of how blessed we are to have you in our lives praying for us. Thank you!
Ben, Mandy, Kayla, and Emma-
Ben lives in Greeley, CO and works with college students at the University of Northern Colorado.